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40 acres and a mule is a term for compensation that was to be awarded to freed African American slaves after the Civil War— 40 acres of land to farm, and a mule with which to drag a plow so the land could be cultivated.
It started with The 25th Hour. I didn't like it when I saw it in the theater but it stuck with me. And that's what Spike Lee joints do: they stick with you. I've been slowly working my way through his roster, which includes Crooklyn (my personal favorite), Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Clockers and the Summer of Sam.
The movies take place in New York, except it isn't the New York of the movies. It's not glamorous. It's gritty and real and sometimes seems like a fantasy land. Not quite real and yet - there's Central Park. And Bed-Stuy. And Double Happiness (now closed) in Chinatown.
His studio is right here, right in Fort Greene but I have yet to spot the diminutive genius. Don't worry Spike, my eyes are peeled. Prepare to be accosted.